Italy’s largest seaport has a rich in maritime history – and joined forces with sailing’s toughest challenge, The Ocean Race, to embark on an exciting new journey toward healthier and cleaner seas.
The Ocean Race Summit took place at the heart of this coastal city in the elegant Porto Antico area at the Centro Congressi on 20 September 2019.
OCEAN POSITIVE WALL
The Ocean Positive Wall is being displayed at summit locations to showcase decisive action that contributes to helping solve the crisis affecting our seas. At the event in Genoa, a range of organisations showcased their commitment to creating a lasting legacy.
Worldrise is an non-profit organisation, created by young people for young people.
It develops projects to conserve and safeguard the marine environment, based on awareness-raising, creativity and education.
Batti5 is our creative and educational project that aims to build awareness amongst the younger generation, of the problem of plastic pollution in our ocean, through the use of the best international practices. This is supported by organisations including One More Generation and the Plastic Awareness Coalition.
We’ve also developed “No More Plastic” to create a network of commercial activities, starting in cities. Our common goal is to eliminate the use of single-use plastic, by replacing it with more sustainable alternatives, such as reusable or compostable materials.
At Deledda International School, in Genoa, we are proud of our annual “Beach Sweep”, an event which involves cleaning every public beach from Piazza Kennedy to Boccadasse (all the beaches along Corso Italia). We invite students, aged 14–16, to spend the last day of the summer term cleaning up the beaches they will then use over the summer holidays.
For the past ten years, we have been dividing into teams and take 80 students along the beaches, wearing gloves, and pick up everything that shouldn’t be there, before taking an “end-of-school” swim!
Tango 2030 organises dance events on one of the most popular public beaches on the Genovese coast to raise awareness of the need to reduce and move towards the elimination of single-use plastic.
Tango is used as a metaphor to describe how glass, unlike plastic, represents a noble, elegant, quality material, which, with its lightness and transparency is beautiful, healthy, non-invasive and therefore adds value.
The performance shows four tango dancers who meet for a walk on the beach – their clothing is unkempt, their behavior is not very refined – this is designed to represent plastic. After an invitation to dance, their clothing and behaviour are transformed, becoming elegant, light, harmonious – now representing glass.
The routine ends with a scene of sharing and celebration of beauty, where tango, glass and the sea all come together. Onlookers are able to learn about the plastic problem and how they can be part of the solution – then take part in a free dance class.
The project is a collaboration between the Municipal District of Levante, Re.Vetro, The Caribe Tango Club by Celeste and the Domina Multimedia company.
NO PLASTICA IN MARE
Lega Navale Italiana, promote education projects that teach respect for the sea. “No Plastica in Mare” was launched in 2018 with the aim of raising awareness amongst school children of plastic pollution and the need to refuse, reuse and recycle.
In 2019, the initiative is focussing on spreading information on microplastics – what they are, what impact they are having on the marine environment and what children can do to help stop them spreading. The content was designed to complement the school curriculum.
In March this year, a three-day "No Plastic at Sea" event and competition encouraged children to draw, paint and take photos, inspired by the problem. This was followed by a one-day conference on the subject and a plastic treasure hunt on the beaches of Chiavari.
BLUE ECO LINE
The River Cleaner project has been developed by start-up Blue Eco Line. It is based on the study and development of a system capable of collecting plastic waste from rivers.
Since more than 80% of plastic in our oceans comes from the land, River Cleaner aims to counteract plastic pollution by intercepting it before it reaches the sea.
The aim is to promote technology and energy efficiency through a system that can be integrated into any urban or suburban setting with low underlying management costs.
It is located on river banks using a highly-automated garbage collection system with the waste transported to street level cargo beds for collection and transfer to recycling plants. If every town or city standing next to a river could implement the use of such a system to deal with waste, it will be possible to do more to fight marine plastic pollution.
Surfrider Genova is made up of a group of volunteers from the environmental association Surfrider Foundation Europe. We are a group of surfers who are engaged first-hand in improving the health of our seas. The ‘Reset Your Habits’ campaign urges people to reduce their use of single-use plastic bottles. In our city we have also organised various beach clean-ups as part of our ‘Ocean Initiatives’ campaign.
The aim is to inform people of the huge amount of marine litter on our beaches and to use the scientific data of the clean-ups to inform politicians so they enforce legislation changes to improve the situation. Our annual report concluded that at over 1,000 beach cleans across Europe, litter was found at every one. In the Genoa area, we picked up 6327 cigarette butts during our May clean-up and we are now discussing with the Genova Municipality about various projects which could improve this particular issue.
We want to make people aware that cigarette butts are the most common litter found on beaches around the world, one butt can pollute more than 500 litres of sea-water. Each plastic filter contains more than 4000 harmful substances.
GUARDIANI DELLA COSTA
Guardians of the Coast is one of the biggest citizen science projects ever developed in Italy. Upper secondary schools teachers and students are involved in an online education and awareness programme focussing on the Mediterranean marine environment, coastal biodiversity, plastic pollution and climate change issues.
They are invited to take their scientific understanding out of the classroom and into the field, to monitor an adopted stretch of coastline and feed data into a central database using a free mobile App. A team of biologists then validate all information collected and makes it available in theme-based maps describing the state of Italian coastlines.
The project, launched in 2017, involves 280 high schools throughout Italy, with almost 11,000 students and more than 1,000 teachers contributing to the collection of over 105,000 pieces of scientific data.
The Foundation has a new partnership with ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development). This includes beach cleans and engagement activities with employees and partner travel agencies.
UNIVERSITÀ DI GENOVA
Genoa University is committed to helping reduce plastic pollution and has joined the campaign #StopSingleUsePlastic, promoted by the CRUI (Italian University Rectors Conference) and the #PlasticFree campaign from the Italian Ministry of the Environment.
As part of the commitment, water dispensers are available in all public spaces, departments and offices, and personalized reusable bottles are to be distributed. All coffee-making machines will be supplied with paper cups and will have a “no cup” option to encourage the use of personal mugs.
Bachelor and Master Degree courses on sustainability address the
three pillars of sustainability – environmental, economic and social – in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The MUDS: a trap for microplastics
Microplastics are particles which range in size from 0.1 micrometers to 5 millimeters. Discharges from urban areas are among the main factors responsible for transporting them into the sea from where they can enter the food chain through marine life and ultimately be consumed by humans.
Sewerage systems aren’t able to capture the particles so the MUDS biological filter system, fitted downstream of a sewage treatment system, represents an important tool to stop the flow of microplastics into the sea.
THE AQUARIUM OF GENOA
Working with Costa Edutainment, the Aquarium of Genoa, which welcomes over one million visitors each year, aims to inspire respect for the sea and its extraordinary inhabitants by showcasing the educational material they provide.
Their work highlights the need to preserve the marine environment and the biodiversity it supports. This includes research into animal care, including rescue, rehabilitation and reintroduction.
Conservation activities and collaboration with a range of national and international institutions and associations, are also included in the public outreach at the aquarium in the Porto Antico area of the city.
Activities for adults and children highlight the marine litter problem, the need to reduce the use of single-use plastic and the research being carried out into microplastic pollution and its effects on marine life.
CLEAN SEA LIFE
Clean Sea LIFE is a European project that, in Italy, has created a movement of ocean-lovers including yachtsmen, divers, fishermen, beach goers, students and teachers not to mention the general public. They are all committed to taking responsibility for the sea and to act as ambassadors for ocean stewardship.
The Clean Sea LIFE project has recovered over 20 tons of marine litter since 2016 including lost fishing gear, and increased awareness of the impact of plastic waste pollution on marine biodiversity, the importance of prevention and proper waste management and of alternatives to single-use plastics.
Our project leads studies and monitoring activities all around the Italian coastline and also assists local, regional and national authorities in the drafting and implementation of litter-reducing policies.
We have campaigned for a ban on microbeads in cosmetics, plastic cotton buds, the mass release of balloons by local councils and a law extending our fishing for litter activities to all fishermen in Italy. The Clean Sea LIFE project has shaped legislation that is reducing the amount of litter affecting the Mediterranean Sea.
The Clean Sea LIFE project is run by the Asinara National Park and partners, co-funded by the European Commission through the LIFE programme.
The sea is Costa’s lifeblood and, accordingly, the Company considers that the scale of plastic pollution and its impact on the health of the oceans is a planetary crisis and an issue of vital importance.
By means of a path of tangible actions, in line with EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, today Costa is more committed than ever to reducing the use of plastic both on board and shoreside. A lot has already been done.
As early as 2003, single-use plastic items previously used on board were replaced by products made from more easily disposed of biodegradable, compostable Mater-Bi material (cups, plates and straws) or wood (cutlery and toothpicks). 83% of the yogurt in the buffet is served in open bowls rather than in pots.
Similarly, throw-away plastic amenity bottles and caps in guest cabins were replaced by soap & shampoo dispensers way back in 2000. Additionally, the Company only uses cosmetics and spa products, as well as cleaning products, if they do not contain microplastics.
Where possible, Costa tries to reuse packaging, food containers and so on. Excluding the portion recovered directly for reuse, currently 22.48% of the plastic used on board is discharged in port facilities and sent for recycling.
The Dutch Wavemakers aim to increase worldwide awareness on the effects of climate change and the importance of clean oceans.
We unleash the creativity of many children by teaching them to become change makers for a better future. We work with children both from normal and disadvantaged backgrounds.
During a Dutch Wavemaker water and energy lab, children learn about plastic soup, water quality and think about solutions to the SDGs, and in so doing contribute to and co-create a better future world with clean oceans.
We use a new way of authentic learning and international networking for students and young professionals with a passion for water and clean oceans. The challenges take place worldwide, usually during international water related events.
During global events we develop, in collaboration with governments, businesses and universities, a sustainable education programme to train athletes and students to become our ambassadors.
SERVIZI ECOLOGICI PORTO DI GENOVA S.R.L
Servizi Ecologici Porto di Genova (SEPG) help safeguard the marine environment in the Port of Genoa. They employ innovative technologies to reduce the amount of waste, particularly plastic, that accumulates in the area.
Established by the Port Authority of Genoa, SEPG works in collaboration with the University of Genoa on a variety of projects to improve the health of the port.
These include specially designed boats that collect plastic waste flowing from the city into the waters around the Port of Genoa and beyond.
The boats are equipped with two doors that can be opened and a system which acts as a conveyor belt, pushing the waste into the rear cockpit.
SEPG also analyse weather forecasting data and monitor sea conditions
to locate the places debris is most likely to accumulate.